A world title double has been confirmed this week in the 168-pound division as Callum Smith and Caleb Plant prepare to defend their respective belts.
As WBN revealed a few weeks ago, Smith v Ndam was on for the Joshua v Ruiz undercard.
SMITH v NDAM
Callum Smith will defend his WBA World ‘Super’, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine Super-Middleweight belts against Hassan N’Dam on the blockbuster Anthony Joshua OBE vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. World title bill at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, live on DAZN in the US and Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
‘Mundo’ (25-0, 18 KOs) captured the WBA World title and was crowned World Boxing Super Series champion following a stunning seventh round knockout victory over British rival George Groves in Saudi Arabia last September – a win that also saw the Liverpudlian claim the vacant Ring Championship. Smith puts those titles on the line for the first time against former Middleweight World ruler N’Dam in his second appearance as a professional in the US.
N’Dam (37-3, 21 KOs) has operated at World level since landing the WBA Interim Middleweight World title against Avtandil Khurtsidze in 2010. He defended that title twice before losing on points to Peter Quillin with the WBO Middleweight crown at stake. A landslide win over Curtis Steven qualified the Frenchman for a shot at the IBF title in 2015 – an explosive contest with David Lemieux followed with the Canadian coming out on top on the score cards.
In 2017 N’Dam took on London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Ryota Murata for the vacant WBA regular World title, which he won via a split decision. The pair rematched five months later, again on Japanese soil, where N’Dam was forced into retirement in the seventh round. He most recently defeated four-time World title challenger Martin Murray by a 12 round majority decision in December.
Smith and N’Dam clash on a huge night of action at MSG where Anthony Johua’s World title defence against Andy Ruiz Jr. is supported by Irish sensation Katie Taylor clashing with Delfine Persoon for the undisputed Women’s World Lightweight championship, New Yorker Chris Algieri defending his WBO International title against Tommy Coyle is a crunch Super-Lightweight showdown and Josh Kelly making his US debut as he defends his WBA International Welterweight title against Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson – with more exciting undercard additions announced this week.
PLANT v LEE
Undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant will make the first defense of his title against unbeaten contender Mike Lee in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night and on FOX Deportes Saturday, July 20 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Televised coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and will precede the FOX Sports PBC Pay-Per-View event that also takes place at MGM Grand and is headlined by eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao facing WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith Thurman.
“Caleb Plant put the boxing world on notice with his exciting title-winning performance in January and will look to build on that showing against an unbeaten contender in Mike Lee on July 20,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “His first defense of the title will put Plant in primetime on FOX and FOX Deportes in Las Vegas and building up to the Pacquiao vs. Thurman pay-per-view event. With two undefeated fighters going toe-to-toe in this first main event of the evening, fans are in for a memorable night of action.”
Tickets for the event, which is presented by TGB Promotions and Sweethands Promotions, are on sale now and can be purchased online through AXS.com, charge by phone at 866-740-7711 or in person at any MGM Resorts International box office.
Plant vs. Lee will see two hungry unbeaten fighters square off, as Plant looks to defend his title and cement himself as the class of the 168-pound ranks, while Lee will look to join the super middleweight elite as a world champion for the first time.
To win the title, Plant (18-0, 10 KOs) turned the tables on the hard-hitting Venezuelan slugger Jose Uzcategui in their IBF championship fight in January on FS1. Going into the match the consensus was that Uzcategui was the harder puncher and that Plant would have to withstand his power to walk away with the belt. It was the 26-year-old Plant, however, who stunned Uzcategui by dropping him to the canvas twice on the way to a convincing unanimous decision. It was an emotional night for Plant, who is from Ashland City, Tenn. and now lives in Las Vegas. He had dedicated his career-best victory to the memory of his late daughter Alia, who suffered from a rare disorder that caused seizures.
“I’m more than ready to return to the ring on July 20 as the main event on FOX at MGM Grand in Las Vegas,” said Plant. “I’ll be defending my IBF world title in tremendous fashion and this is one fight you guys will not want to miss. I’m taking this fight just as seriously as my last opponent.
“This guy is undefeated and looking to stay that way, but unfortunately for him, he took on the wrong challenge against the wrong guy. Come July 20, he’ll realize he’s in deeper water than he’s ever been in. My last fight was for Alia, but this fight I’m dedicating to my beautiful mother Beth Ann. May you Rest in Peace, Love you Momma.”
The 31-year-old Lee (21-0, 11 KOs) graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a degree in business, but decided to pursue his boxing dreams rather than take a job on Wall Street. A native of Wheaton, Illinois who now lives in Chicago, Lee has made a steady climb up the ladder and has been campaigning at light heavyweight. He will be moving down to super middleweight to challenge for his first world championship. Lee is coming off an impressive unanimous decision victory over Jose Hernandez on last June 8.
“I’ve have dreamt of the opportunity to fight for a world title for years,” said Lee. “All the years of hard work, pain and sacrifice have led me to this moment. On July 20 I will be victorious and prove everyone wrong that didn’t believe I was good enough to even get here.
“When I spent almost two years in and out of hospitals battling an autoimmune disease there were moments I never thought I could get back to this level and there were doctors who told me my fighting days were done. But I have won every fight since and I plan to prove that anything is possible if you want it bad enough. I could not have done this without my Dad, my advisor Mike Borao and my trainers Jamal Abdullah and Julian Chua.”